Funding boost for women-led business angel network to extend reach across Scotland

Women-led angel group Mint Ventures has received funding for a series of roadshows across Scotland to help supercharge the amount of capital available to female entrepreneurs.

The group, which announced its launch in December, has received capital from Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Government’s Scottish Technology Ecosystem Fund for the roadshows that aim to encourage more women to become angel investors, as well as helping female-led companies to access investment.

Following International Women’s Day on March 8, it noted that the recently updated Rose Review 2022 of Female Entrepreneurship confirmed that access to finance remains the top barrier for women starting and growing their businesses, and in response, the UK Business Angels Association (UKBAA) has established a UK-wide Women Business Angel Taskforce, of which Mint Ventures is a founding member.

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From left: Mint Ventures co-founder and CEO Gillian Fleming, co-founder and chair Lynne Cadenhead, and co-founder and director Carolyn Currie. Picture: contributed.

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The latter group said its regional roadshows are part of a new programme of events across the UK to spread awareness of business angel investing for women. The initiative – known as Women Backing Women – aims to tap into the collective power, expertise and financial capital of females to help others flourish in entrepreneurship, Mint Ventures also said.

The roadshows are set to take place this and next month in Aberdeen, Dundee, Glasgow, St Andrews, Edinburgh and the Borders, and will offer “an opportunity to learn, ask questions, and be inspired in a safe-space environment”.

Mint Ventures, which was born out of the research of Women’s Enterprise Scotland, is a business angel network investing in women-led and diverse companies, and it cites UK statistics such as females holding more than half the country’s wealth, but comprising just 14 per cent of business angel investors.

The group’s chief executive Gillian Fleming said the barriers to women becoming angel investors are cultural rather than financial. “Women clearly have the wealth and business skills, but they often don’t have access to the same networks as men.”

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Also commenting was Victoria Carmichael, director of strategic investment at Scottish Enterprise, who said: “Mint Ventures’ focus on investing in women-led companies or those with diverse leadership teams is not only a values-led approach, it also makes great business sense. We know that diversity of thought is key to business innovation and success, making such companies much more likely to thrive and grow.”

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Kate Forbes, Scotland’s Secretary for Finance and the Economy, welcomed the Scottish Government’s Ecosystem Fund, in connection with the Scottish Technology Ecosystem Review, being able support an expansion of Mint Ventures’ activity in what is such an “important” area.

“It is clear that, collectively, we must do more to address the gender gap in business participation in Scotland,” she said. “That is why organisations such as Mint Ventures are critical to our tech and wider entrepreneurial ecosystems.

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"It is also why I have committed funding of £50 million over the course of this parliament to support more women in enterprise, and I have commissioned experienced entrepreneur and investor Ana Stewart to lead a short-term review of how best to target that support and help more women realise their business ambitions.”

Jenny Tooth, executive chair of UKBAA, praised Mint Ventures “taking leadership across Scotland to drive out the message to women with the potential to invest – and ensure this important source of finance enables more Scottish female founders to achieve their growth ambitions”.

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